Wabi Sabi through Japanese Ceramics

From  7 years of getting our hands dirty, comes our Japanese Ceramics Tour.  We will introduce you to every aspect of Japanese Pottery and the incredible philosophy that lives inside every piece. As well as the related philosophies of Zen and Wabi-Sabi that greatly influence Japanese pottery.   We will be taking you around Japan to our favorite masters, kilns and wheels to learn the history of Japanese Ceramics and the philosophies that still shape its clay.

This tour is a must for any ceramics lover or collector, as well as guests looking to learn more about Wabi-Sabi, Tea Ceremonies, and some of Japan’s most beautiful costumes that use clay as their medium.


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TIME                           LOCATION              RECOMMENDED HOTEL

Day 1                        Arrive TOKYO         Hotel Claska/Park Hyatt

Today we’ll begin your ceramics experience by taking you to one of our favorite restaurants in Japan that also happens to be one of our favorite ceramics galleries. Here you’ll dine and chat with the owner and artist about their backgrounds.

Day 2                        TOKYO                     Hotel Claska/Park Hyatt

Today we’ll take you on a private tour to visit our favorite studios as well as meet the potters and curators behind them. Afterwards, we will head to the countyside to visit one of the largest collections of pottery outside Tokyo with collections from over 500 artists. Dinner will be at an elite restaurant based around curating dishes to pair with the season.

Day 3                        TOKYO                     Hotel Claska/Park Hyatt

The morning will be free, the afternoon is spent exploring with one of Tokyo’s master potters. For a conversation on Ceramics and Wabi-Sabi over tea.  The evening will be spent with one of Tokyo’s most engaging expats for a tour of the city and a discussion on how the young generation of Japan engages with the arts and ceramics.

Day 4                                   TOKYO                     Hotel Claska/ Park Hyatt

In the morning we will visit one of Japan’s leading spaces dedicated to the study and exploration of Wabi-Sabi. Afterwards we will enjoy a private class in Kintsugi: The Japanese Art of Pottery Repair.  Dinner will be at a restaurant off the tourist circuit, famed for its chef, a former artist turned master chef.

Day 5             TOKYO-COUNTRYSIDE-KYOTO         Hotel Kanra/Ritz Carlton   

Today we will head to the countryside by private car to visit the countryside village that is the inspiration for one of Japan’s greatest potters as well as his foreign followers. Hands on lessons and multiple studios will be explored. Afterwards we will head to Kyoto by Bullet Train to your hotel. (We are happy to arrange a private car).

Day 6                                     KYOTO                      Hotel Kanra/Ritz Carlton

Today we will browse some of Kyoto’s most famous tea stores and galleries for tea ceramics.  Afterwards we will visit a beautiful village outside of Kyoto to see one of Japan’s premier tea farms. Here we will taste some of Japan’s finest matcha, learn to different between different varietals and learn more about the relationship between Japanese tea and Japanese ceramics. Dinner will be at an intimate river-side venue cooking up some of Japan’s best Kappo cuisine.

Day 7                         KYOTO                               Hotel Kanra/Ritz Carlton

In the morning we will be enjoying a garden walk with Kyoto’s premier garden experts to learn more about their history, connection to wabi-sabi and Japanese art writ large.  Afterwards we will spend the day exploring Arashiyama, Kyoto’s beautiful bamboo forest, and head to spots little visited by other western tourists to explore the site’s moving spiritual history.   Our time will conclude with a visit to Japan’s famed Moss Temple and an exploration of meditative Buddhist practices.

Day 8                        KYOTO                                Hotel Kanra/Ritz Carlton

In the morning we will visit a master potter trained in the style associated with Japan’s best ceramics for Tea (Chado). Afterwards we will link up with one of  Japan’s premier expert in Japanese Ceramics. They will explain the history and importance of any style of Japanese pottery and connect these to your own life and interests.

Dinner will be at one of our favorite restaurants in the city for Tempura-style cuisine.

Day 9                         KYOTO-KURASHIKI                    PRIVATE MACHIYA

In the late morning we’ll be exploring some of Kyoto’s best sake breweries for a tour guided by our favorite expat expert in the beverage.  This will be an educational tour (not a pub crawl) focused on learning about the history of sake ceramics, how to differentiate between grades, and the history of the beverage itself.  Afterwards we will head to Kurashiki, one of our favorite small cities in Japan for art.  Here we will stay in a beautiful private residence in the style of Japanese traditional Japanese Machiya architecture.

Day 10                                   KURASHIKI                          PRIVATE MACHIYA

Today with our guide we will explore Kurashiki’s gorgeous merchant and factory architecture, some of the only examples that have survived World War 2.  Afterwards we will head to Ohara Art Museum, Japan’s first to be solely dedicated to western art and filled with the work of European masters. Afterwards we will head to the Kurashiki Museum of Folk Craft to explore some of Japan’s most prominent examples of outsider art in the field of ceramics.

Dinner tonight will be at one of our favorite Yaki-Tori restaurants in the country.

Day 11                                   KURASHIKI-BIZEN                        PRIVATE MACHIYA

Today we will head by Private car  and guide to Japan’s most well-known Pottery village: Bizen. Here we will spend the day mingling with local potters, visiting world-famous studios, and interacting with the expats who have given up their life to move to this famed village and learn Bizen-Style Pottery.

Day 12                       ZEN TEMPLE-HAGI                       SENSHUNRAKU RYOKAN

Today we will head by Private car with guide to see Japan’s ‘designer Zen’ Temple. A huge complex built with the idea of promoting Zen Buddism with the generation of tomorrow.  This will be a fascinating day full of activities, galleries, and modern zen.  Afterwards we will head by Hagi via Shinkansen. Our stay tonight will be one of Japan’s best Ryokans for pottery lovers.

Day 13                       Hagi                                      SENSHUNRAKU RYOKAN

Today we will be participating in a private pottery class with one of Hagi’s most lively pottery masters. Afterwards he will show you some of his most abstract works of Hagi-Yaki that have brought him international fame.  Then we will make a visit to the Hagi Uragami Museum for a viewing of some of China, Japan and Korea’s best ceramic pieces, as well as viewing the world’s best Ukiyo-e collection.  In the afternoon we will begin our exploration of Hagi itself, a hidden gem filled with UNESCO world heritage sites and pottery in every section of town.

Day 14                       Hagi                                      SENSHUNRAKU RYOKAN

Today we will continue our deep-dive into Hagi-Yaki meeting a scandanavian master of the form. Then having matcha with Hagi’s other master abstract ceramicist. Afterwards we will learn about the birth of modern Japan via Hagi and the Choshu 5, whose actions led to the modernization of the nation and the defeat of the shogunate.

Dinner tonight will be at the best Kaiseki restaurant in Western Japan. (Hagi being famed for its fugu, its sure to be on the menu).

Day 15                       Hagi-Departure                             SENSHUNRAKU RYOKAN

We will conclude our time with a visit to two of the most beautiful temples in Western Japan. Then conclude our time with one of our favorite seafood restaurants.  Afterwards you will head back to Kyoto (or Tokyo) For your departure flight (or a one night stay after flying out tomorrow)

Want more information? Email our travel experts matt@asiaarttours.com.

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